Weblinks: Adverbial Clauses

Adverbs express a lot of things in English:  times, reasons, conditions, contrasts, etc.

A Clause is any group of words that includes a subject and verb.

An adverb (word) of time:  I went to the store yesterday.

An adverb CLAUSE of time:  I went to the store after I got off work.
A clause has a subject and verb in it.  In this case, it still just means the time.  It’s an adverb and a clause = adverbial clause.


sub=under   ordin=the order first, second, third    “-ate” as a suffix means “make this happen”
I got off work.  This is a fine sentence.

When I got off work…    This is just a time.  You still need to tell me what happened at that time, when you got off work.

The word “when” is a subordinator.  It makes the sentence into just a subordinate or dependent clause. 

Is the clause independent or dependent?  (Dependent clauses start with subordinator words)  https://depts.dyc.edu/learningcenter/owl/exercises/clauses_ex2.htm

Choose the right subordinator 1
Choose the right subordinator 2
Choose the right subordinator 3

Choose the right subordinator 4
Choose the right subordinator 5


You can put adverbial clauses before or after the main clause.  It doesn’t change the meaning at all.

If you put the adverbial (subordinate) clause first, you need a comma, but if you put it second, you do not use a comma.


  • Because you are taking this class, you will learn more grammar this semester.
  • You will learn more grammar this semester because you are taking this class.

Note that the comma is at the end of the subordinate clause, not next to the word “because.”

More examples:

Even though it is raining, we still have to go to soccer practice.
We still have to go to soccer practice even though it’s raining.

When she gets home, we’ll eat dinner.
We’ll eat dinner when she gets home.

Video Lessons

when and while                explanation and then practice
When means at that time or immediately after that time.
I take off my shoes when I get home.
While means during that time
I think about dinner while I drive home.
when and while practice 1
when and while practice 2

if and unless:               Explanation and then practice
nless=if not.  they are opposites.
I will pass if I study.
I will not pass if I don’t study.
I will not pass unless I study.

She won’t be there if it’s sunny.
She will be there if it is not sunny.
She will be there unless it’s sunny.
If and Unless practice 1
If and Unless practice 2
Only If vs Unless

although and despite:  http://www.usingenglish.com/quizzes/89.html
Although – subordinate conjunction – followed by Subject-verb
Despite – preposition – followed by noun
Although it is raining, we will still play soccer.
Despite the rain, we will still play soccer.
In spite of the rain, will will still play soccer.

so and so that:               http://www.usingenglish.com/quizzes/295.html
s0-fanboys = therefore  as a result.  Always second, always with a comma
so that – subordinate conjunction = for this purpose/your intention – the reason you do it.  (note: the negative of the meaning intention is “so as not to”)
so – subordinate conjunction – we often drop “that” – the difference is then commas and meaning.

to and so that:               http://www.usingenglish.com/quizzes/112.html
to – short form of “in order to” – also called infinitive of purpose.  Why did you go? to visit.
so that – subordinate conjunction – followed by subject-verb.  meaning “for this purpose”

because (of):                  http://www.usingenglish.com/quizzes/220.html
ecause – subordinate conjunction – followed by subject-verb
because of – preposition – followed by a noun.

So and because             http://a4esl.org/q/h/lb/sobe.html
so – fanboys – the result/therefore
because – subordinate conjunction – caused by
I went because he was there.  (he being there is the cause)
he was there, so I went.    (my going is the result)

if and when                   http://www.englishpage.com/conditional/conditional1.htm
if – only in this case (unlikely)
when – any time this happens (likely)
He has a good car.  If it breaks down, he’ll call a mechanic.
He has a bad car.  When it breaks down, he calls a mechanic.

so and such                   http://a4esl.org/q/h/0101/ss-so_such.html
so+adjectives     The elephant was so big!
such+nouns      It was such a big elephant.   Such people bug me.
mixed conjunctions     http://a4esl.org/q/h/vm/connectwords.html
if and unless                 http://www.grammar-quizzes.com/9-7.html
cause-effect                   http://www.grammar-quizzes.com/8-7.html

cause and effect words        explanation and practice
subordinating conjunctions and other adverbial connector words